South Dakota School Law Notes - Transgender Students Update & Guidance

 

As we noted in our recent article, the Departments of Education and Justice withdrew their previous joint guidance that expanded Title IX protections to include gender identity. These agencies have now informed the United States Supreme Court that they were taking this action, as Gloucester County School Board v. GG is scheduled for oral argument on March 28. In response, the Supreme Court has requested that the parties immediately "submit their views" on how this case should proceed.  

The National School Boards Association has issued a statement noting these developments and offering guidance, including the following points that may be helpful as you communicate with your staff and community:

  • It is important to remember that schools will continue to ensure students learn in a safe environment. This means that schools will continue to implement policies to prevent bullying and harassment and if it happens, it will be addressed promptly.
  • Schools should continue to do what they have been doing all along which is to make decisions based upon respecting the rights of all students as they continue to navigate an unsettled area of the law.
  • While the law continues to evolve in this area, the most immediate impact for schools is that the withdrawal of the Obama Administration's previous guidance likely will eliminate, if not greatly reduce, the threat of loss of federal funding over this issue.
  • Another result of the action is that until the issue is decided in some other way by the courts or Congress, schools should look towards state laws and state department of education regulations for guidance.
Scott Swier
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